Everyone who writes has their own reasons for doing it, their own way of doing it, their own justification for what and how they do it. What I think is crap and hack is produced by people who believe in what they’re doing.
Note: when I say “writing” I’m talking about writing fiction because that’s what I do.
I went to Clarion West a number of years ago. For anyone who doesn’t know, Clarion is a six-week intensive workshop for science fiction/fantasy/horror. A different writer comes in each week to teach. Participants try to write a new story each week to present to the group for critique. It was mostly a good experience for me. But at my Clarion there was pressure to write things that conformed to the tastes of editors at the big genre magazines, things that would sell to those editors. People who wrote traditional genre were more likely expected to succeed than those who didn’t.
That way of thinking interfered with my development. After the workshop it took me a while to understand what I wanted to do. I wanted to write things that came from me, that were uniquely me (and get them published). I can’t write for a market. I don’t want to write for a market. Theme anthologies? Forget it.
Persevering with my own vision hasn’t been easy. Trends and fads come and go, writers pick up on them, get books published, etc. None of that is for me unless by accident.